Want to kick your spring break up a notch this year? Texas is full of adventurous activities guaranteed to get your heart pumping so you can explore the state and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. From unique ziplines to off-road adventures and water-based activities to downhill mountain bike parks, there is something for every type of adventurer. So lace up your boots, pack your bags, and get ready to explore because you do not have to leave Texas to make the most of spring break.
Ready for an outdoor adventure that is practically guaranteed to take your breath away? Head to MERUS Adventure park, a 6,000-acre adventure park locatedjust outside of Amarillo in Palo Duro Canyon. Here, you will find breathtaking views over the chiseled and rugged North Texas landscape and enough adventure activities to make this spring break one to remember.
The most popular activity at MERUS is off-roading, and the park offers guided tours on green, blue, and black trails (which are rated like ski slopes) and multi-day offroading packages that include camping within the park.
You do need to bring your own vehicle. As long as it is capable of handling uneven terrain and meets the restrictions and requirements listed on MERUS’s website (like tire size, clearance, and insurance), you will be ready to play on the expansive outdoor playground.
You can book a day pass with a campsite reservation, a guided 4-by-4 tour on Saturdays, or grab a few friends and book a multi-day overlanding adventure complete with campground access. Alternatively, the park is also home to hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking trails, even cave excursions in slot canyons, so if a vehicle-based adrenaline rush is not your thing, there is still plenty to experience.
Want to tear up some single track without all the pesky cycling uphill? Then make a beeline for Spider Mountain in Burnet (near Marble Falls), the state’s only downhill mountain bike park with a chair lift and the only lift-served bike park operating year-round in the United States. Herein the Hill Country, you are guaranteed to experience a wild afternoon (or several) of cruising downhill on a variety of tracks of varying difficulty levels.
Ten downhill trails range from beginner to expert (from easy greens to technical black diamonds), which makes it a great spot f
or bikers of all skills and abilities. Plus, a skills park offers a warm-up route before the real gravity-fueled thrills begin. There is even a gradual uphill hiking and biking trail if you do not feel the need for speed. Bonus: the views of Lake Buchanan from the top of the mountain are the best in the area.
Bike and equipment rentals, including helmets and pads, are available for those who need gear, and you can even score a season pass if you plan to return on a regular basis. Good news for families: children under 12 are free.
Someone in your crew not keen on riding? No problem: you can also purchase a pass to ride the lift just to enjoy the view from the top or rent a cabin at the Thunderbird Lodge at Spider Mountain around the corner and relax by the lake.
Celebrate spring break by heading south to Big Bend and the winding Rio Grande. But while you are there, do more than hike the popular park’s desert trails (though Emory Peak is always a winner); grab a paddle and a life jacket and float!
Big Bend Boating and Hiking Company will outfit you with all the gear you need and guide you on a small group canoe or kayak trip so you can experience the natural and historic wonders of the region as you float through canyons and past hot springs.
Plenty of float trips are available, so you can choose your own adventure. Opt for a day trip in the Santa Elena or Hot Springs Canyon, a half-day float through the hidden gem of Dark Canyon, or prepare to sleep under the stars on a two-, three-, or four-day excursion through Boquillas, Santa Elena, or Temple Canyons for an extended river adventure experience.
Your guides will take care of the cooking, paddle gear, and furniture (including tents and sleeping bags if you did not bring yours), so all that is left for you to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the views on one of the many family-friendly floats.
Both subterranean and aerial adventures await at Natural Bridge Caverns near San Antonio. The complex offers activities the whole family will enjoy, plus plenty to keep you busy and well-fed for the whole day.
Start on the Twisted Trails Zip Rails and Ropes Course for a zipline adventure unlike any other in Texas. The 60-foot tall course features a 50-obstacle ropes course so you can test your balance and agility, plus multiple zip rails that let you slide your way through this self-guided aerial adventure park, and all while you are securely strapped and clipped into the stories-high structure.
There is even a Twisted Trails Tykes course for smaller adventurers and climbing challenges that beg families to race to the top. So expect plenty of adrenaline-pumping, challenging, even collaborative experiences (and the views of the surrounding area are not bad, either).
When you are ready to plant your feet back on terra firma, head underground on one of the many cavern tours available that range from tame to ultra-adventurous (complete with ropes, climbing, narrow passageways, and more). You will descend at least 180 feet and learn all about this underground beauty’s unique formations and history. If you opt for an adventure tour, be prepared to get muddy!